Safety Measurement System Changes
March 18, 2015
Author | Blythe Kudronowicz, Account Administrator
There are several Safety Measurement Systems (SMS) changes which have recently taken place or are scheduled to take place in the near future which could greatly impact the transportation industry.
In December 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule making changes to Driver Vehicle Inspect Report (DVIR) requirements. Under this new rule, commercial motor vehicle drivers are no longer required to file a DVIR when there are no safety defects or mechanical deficiencies found; this rule also harmonizes the pre and post-trip inspection lists.
The 34-hour restart rule is a topic of much discussion recently; the rule states that you must be off-duty for a minimum of 34 consecutive hours whether drivers are operating after sixty hours in seven days or seventy hours in eight days. A driver may restart a seven or eight consecutive day period after taking at least 34 consecutive hours off duty, without any limitations.
A provision to the rule was proposed and states that the 34-hour off duty period must include two periods from 1 am to 5 am and may only be used once per week (168 hours), measured from the beginning of the previous restart period. However, this provision has currently been suspended as of December 2014 when President Obama signed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act which includes a section stating the proposed provision shall not be in effect until September 30, 2015 or upon receipt of the final report by the Secretary of Transportation.
Drivers are therefore authorized to continue following the previous, unlimited restart provision until the FMCSA provides public notice of the date when the suspension ends. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently recruiting drivers and carriers to participate in a study of the 34-hour restart provision to compare the two provisions and assess safety events, fatigue, alertness, and over all driver health.
The FMCSA also recently announced the formation of a rulemaking committee which will negotiate and develop regulations for entry-level driver training. This program would be designed for commercial motor vehicle drivers operating in interstate or intrastate commerce and is tasked with updating classroom and behind-the-wheel requirements for professional truck and bus drivers. The FMCSA committee believes that implementing new training requirements is crucial to ensuring the safety of the public on our roadways. They expect a training rule to be issued in the fall of this year and a final ruling to be made in 2016.
It is important to stay informed on all rules and regulations to ensure compliance in this ever-changing transportation industry.